Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

Pet Family

Lice Infestation in Rats

Ectoparasitic Pediculosis in Rats

 

Blood sucking lice are common ectoparasites (parasites that infest the outside of the body) of wild rodents. Also called pediculus, these types of parasites are relatively uncommon in pet rats and are sometimes acquired when a domestic rat comes into contact with a wild rodent.

 

You can suspect a lice infestation if your rat is scratching much more than usual. Apart from causing uneasiness and irritation to the rat, lice infestation can also lead to enough loss of blood that a condition of anemia can develop. Left untreated, anemia can lead to death.

 

Lice infestation of rats is not zoonotic in nature, since the type of louse that infects rats is specific to rodents. Human handlers of infested rats are at no risk of becoming infested with lice.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

  • Visible lice and eggs on the skin/hair
  • Intense scratching
  • Restlessness
  • Weakness (due to anemia)

 

Causes

 

Pet rats are known to acquire lice mainly through contact with wild rodents. This typically occurs when a wild rodent is able to come into close enough contact with your pet rat that the lice are able to cross over to your pet rat’s body or to its living environment (such as bedding, litter).

 

Diagnosis

 

Lice infestation can be diagnosed by identification of the adult lice or the presence of eggs on the rat’s skin and hair. Clinical symptoms that are observed may give a general indication of the severity of the problem at hand. If your veterinarian suspects anemia, a complete blood count will show if your rat is suffering from a decreased red blood cell count.

 

Comments  1

Leave Comment
  • Rodents
    03/06/2014 12:47am

    Lice infestation in rodents is very serious issue and it is even dangerous when rat population is very high.
    We should take some quick steps to avoid this.
    Proper Identification of rodents.
    Prevent colony from nesting your home.
    Seal any holes in roof windows and walls.
    For more information please visit : http://pinnaclepest.com/


Related Articles

Flea Infestation in Ferrets
Fleas are small, usually dark-colored, wingless insects that...
READ MORE
Parasitic Infection in Fish
There are many parasites which cause skin and gill damage in fish. Neobenedinia is...
READ MORE
Flea Infestation in Rats
Fleas are ectoparasites, or parasites that infest and feed on the outside of the...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»

PETMD POLL

What do you use to prevent ticks from feeding on your pet?

Around the Web

MORE FROM PETMD.COM